Message from Stanley Town Council Leader

Message from Cllr Les Timbey, Leader, Stanley Town Council

For this week’s update, I’d like to firstly focus on one particular area of outstanding COVID response.

At the time of writing, PACT House has dealt with over 1,250 issues since opening it’s Coronavirus Crisis Hotline – this is an incredible effort and I thank Daren McMahon and his brilliant team of volunteers.

The assistance offered to people has ranged from things as seemingly trivial as posting letters, to supplying vital food packages to families where people have lost employment or emergency support for residents suffering health issues that have been forced into isolation.

It is incredible that by the end of this week, PACT House and the community partners it is working alongside in this emergency response effort, will have helped 2,000 individuals and families and the Stanley Area.

The area breakdown as things stand on 27 April:

  • PACT area: 1,250
  • Annfield Plain: 500+
  • Craghead: 120+
  • Quaking Houses: 50+

On relocating to Stanley Civic Hall, PACT House began operating a six-day a-week fresh food bank, cooked food was prepared on the premises and frozen into easily distributed cartons. The home-cooked “ready meals” have proved popular and it’s great to hear from Darren that recipients have been complementary on the quality of the stews and casseroles.

Crisis Packs have been provided to those in dire need. These consist of fresh and tinned goods, bread, eggs, toiletry and sanitary products. Volunteers are also shopping for people with specific needs and collecting and delivering prescriptions and medications.

Stanley Town Council and Durham County Council emergency COVID response funding has enabled PACT to re-stock its depleted food bank, helping it meet the increased needs of our community.

I must remind people – PACT House, and the organisations it works with across the area, is operated by volunteers. This team is organised, committed, passionate and community spirited…it is a team made up of amazing people who we owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

These volunteers pack food parcels, deliver meals and medication, call and chat to people in isolation. Just knowing this organisation is helping and help is just a phonecall away is easing people’s worries.

There is also a Facebook ‘PACTivites’, which has been created to support families with activities and fun stuff to do, while keeping adults engaged and in contact with each other.

PACT’s community radio station, available on, broadcasts requests from people in isolation and shows are hosted from the foodbank and feature volunteers.

PACT House may have closed its doors, but it is using every communication platform for keep the virtual world’s doors open. It keeps people connected, lets them know they are not alone, and is a trusted touch-point for people through this crisis.

Foodbanks at Craghead Village Hall and Quaking Houses Village Hall are becoming increasingly essential, and PACT’s partnership with Annfield Plain Community Centre, which is also doing excellent work in their locality…hopefully more on this vital team soon.

Stay indoors, stay safe and stay well.

Cllr Les Timbey, Leader, Stanley Town Council